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The 2018 North Country Music Festival in Anderson

08/25/2018 11:00AM ● By Richard DuPertuis

Sounds of Summer

September 2018
By Richard DuPertuis 

THIS MONTH, country music fans will gather in Anderson River Park for a day of festive fun. There’ll be fishing instruction, face painting, food trucks, and organizer Mike Brown says to expect formations of folks flinging foodsacks at holes cut in flat boards, a sport known as cornholing. Finishing the festivities, a couple of fine country bands will play the crowd into a foot-stomping frenzy. Best part: admission is free.

The food, beer and games will cost you little, but it’s for a good cause. The 2018 North Country Music Festival is a fundraiser for firefighters. All proceeds go to the Bella Vista Volunteer Fire Company, a nonprofit that ensures that its crew members have everything they need to battle wildfire blazes in Northern California.

Fire Chief Ron Smith says the fire company incorporated just a couple of years ago. “Our corporation is constantly raising monies to cover costs of fighting fires, logistical support and emergency services,” he says. “Used to be we’d have to host a dinner every week to pay for everything. With the corporation, we’ve been able to cut back on that.”

Brown is president of the corporation. “He’s been a member since its inception,” Smith says. “He does what needs to be done and he does a great job of it.”

Brown has been doing what needs to be done to raise funds for nearly 25 years, and not just for firefighters. A Crescent City musician, he settled in the Redding area in the mid-1990s, and began to teach himself fundraising skills for what he calls his new obsession of that time, a radio-controlled airplane flying club.

“When I get into something, I really get into it. Head over heels,” Brown says. “I wrote articles for flying club magazines; they asked me to review new radio-controlled models. I raised funds for flying events here, for kids. For some of them, it was the first time they ever flew a plane. That look on their face was priceless."

His love for music led him to The Jefferson State Blues Society, a nonprofit for which he has organized an annual blues festival for the last five years. Between this and the flying club, he has learned much about raising money in this region.

“First, you have to find like-minded people who believe in what you are trying to do. And they have to have the time to do it,” he says. “Next, utilize resources like community calendars; all the media have them. And watch the costs, like for the park, insurance, security and a motel for the bands.”

“The biggest thing is time. You have to have enough,” he stresses. “If it’s a big event like this music festival, it’s got to be planned a year ahead. There’ll be good days and bad days. You have to pace yourself.”

The North Country Music Festival opens at noon Sept. 15, featuring all the games and food. The music kicks off at 4 pm with Fogline, an up-and-coming band known for their high-energy performances laced with humor. Between the main acts, Brown’s own band, California Country, takes the stage.

Then comes The Jessie Leigh Band, led by the Oregon-born country rocker celebrated for her hit single “Pink Umbrella Drink.” Leigh will command the stage for a full two-hour set, closing the festival at 9 pm. • 

North Country Music Festival • Anderson River Park

Sept. 15 • Festival opens at noon, music at 4 pm